Monthly Archives: December 2020

Language Complexity, Part 1

David A. Tanzer, December 31, 2020

A simple view of languages

How complex is the English language? The question has many dimensions and nuances. What does complexity mean, and how could it be measured? This a tough nut to crack, so in this post we’ll make a retrenchment and reconsider the question in a more formal setting — computer science.

Here a language is identified with its extension — meaning … Read more

A Tree Leaf Model, Part 2

David A. Tanzer, December 29, 2020

A leaf as a tree of pipes

Last time we set out the model of a leaf as a set of square cells in the plane. But there’s more structure to be defined: the veins.

All the veins taken together make up a ‘transport system’ for pumping fluid from the root to each of the cells.

Biological note: The cells need water to do … Read more

A Tree Leaf Model, Part 1

David A. Tanzer, December 25, 2020

Leaf shape: an optimization in nature

On this Christmas day, let us take a moment to think of the tree, and wonder how it actually grows. Slowly move your attention to the leaves, and ponder how they grow. Next, forget about this type of leaf, for a conifer, with parallel veins — as our true subject is the growth of leaves with branching veins. … Read more